“To see the world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower;
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”
– William Blake
Understanding facts of any situation is essential to one’s ability to analyze that situation for a positive outcome. So before getting into the ramifications of “the coronavirus” in college admissions, we’ll look at the pertinent facts. Let’s first define the name of the virus: The new virus is called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 or SARS-CoV-2. The disease caused by the new virus has been designated COVID -19 (COrona VIrus Disease 19 – because the year it emerged was 2019). It’s known to infect humans causing respiratory tract illness (upper respiratory, as well as lower respiratory illness which could be fatal), and to date there is no vaccine to protect people from COVID-19.
This virus has not been seen in humans before and scientists are still learning specifics about the disease. It has been found to be highly contagious, spreading by small droplets and contact, and is potentially particularly virulent in certain demographics. Thus, the reactions we see in the news regarding the attempts to control the spread the disease. We find ourselves in a place where the world is attempting to slow the spread of the disease as scientists attempt to develop vaccines and treatments. Current efforts in effect in the United States and other parts of the world are an attempt to control community spread. Because of these attempts, educational institutions and facilities have taken drastic steps in order to help control of the spread.
- Public high schools as well as private high schools are closed, making it difficult for students to meet with guidance counselors for college planning.
- For students applying to BS/MD programs, it’s a whole NEW competitive admissions environment! Books about BS/MD process and BS/MD programs do not show you how to navigate the BS/MD admissions process during the current coronovirus pandemic!
- Colleges are cancelling in-person classes and shifting to online platforms or learning management systems.
- Students are being asked to leave campuses and dormitories are being closed. Some colleges have already cancelled or postponed graduation ceremonies.
- Many colleges have moved classes online and some have directed students not to return after spring break.
- Most institutions have barred staff from college-related travel as the coronavirus spreads.
- May 1, the national deposit deadline for applicants, has been pushed back by a month.
- SAT’s (Scholastic Assessment Tests) are cancelled through May.
- National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) has made the decision to cancel all Spring National College Fairs.
- International high school students who wish to study in the U.S. are facing numerous challenges regarding school closures, cancellation of testing dates, and more. The biggest impact may be on students’ abilities to get a visa for the fall semester because of delays in visa interviews or border closures.
- TOEFL testing dates have been canceled or postponed in several countries.
Despite these drastic changes, it should be understood that colleges and universities plan to continue their missions to provide the best education possible for their students. Furthermore, even in the face of a pandemic, college admissions will continue. Based on my experience, extensive historical research, along with emails and Skype discussions with admissions officers, the college admissions process is continuing. High school seniors are and will still be receiving decisions throughout March and early April.
Many of my clients have emailed us to request additional advice in this environment of online classes, extended school vacations and online test assessments. We advise our clients accordingly as they continue their college admission preparation. For many students (and parents), there is uncertainty, anxiety and fear as they shift to distance learning. Evaluation of scholastic achievements through distance learning is not a novel experience for college admissions personnel or my firm. We have advised and continue to advise international as well as U.S. home-schooled clients. I can assure you, with certainty, that there are unique opportunities, educational benefits and admissions advantages to online learning. All of our home-schooled clients have been admitted to their top-choices colleges, including the Ivies and highly selective colleges and universities.
For our current clients, we continue to develop new strategies.
- For high school seniors, no senioritis – schools can still rescind your decisions, so even with online courses, you must continue to do well.
- For juniors, most in their third quarter or beginning their third trimester, with regard to your college admissions profile, you must still develop ways to stand out.
In addition to home consultations, we have always complemented our personalized service by communicating with our clients remotely via Skype or Zoom. COVID-19 has not disrupted our long-standing routine. For our international as well as U.S. families, it’s business as usual. We continue to communicate remotely.
This new situation makes high school students and their parents anxious or unnerved. The reality still exists that you are still COMPETING with other students for those coveted spots at Ivies and highly selective colleges and universities.
For our part, we will continue to use our experience, admissions strategies and analytics to review all the nuances and consequences of COVID-19 in the college admissions process. Given the ever-changing nature of the conditions surrounding the virus, we prepare our clients for all possible scenarios. We focus on positive results and outcomes. We continue, as we always have, to plan for the unexpected. We use our team’s diverse background and collective effort to navigate uncertainties. We problem-search as well as problem-solve.
We advise our clients that COVID-19 has not stopped college admissions, especially to the Ivies and highly competitive college and universities. Understanding that school closures may impact college counseling and support (at public as well as private boarding and day high schools) during the application process, we have implemented more college counseling support services to help our students. By doing all of the above, students will be successfully prepared for the college admissions process as we overcome the COVID-19.
“Admissions is a competitive sport! Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe
“We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge!” – Dr. Paul Lowe
Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs. The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges, Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college: College Transfer Admissions Advisors.